A jobs fair at Dingwall Town Hall yesterday attracted more than 130 people in the first two hours – with many former employees of the Edinburgh Salmon Company.
The Dingwall-based ESCo will close by the end of the year, laying off 163 staff, and a further 100 agency workers, many of them Polish.
Interpreters were on hand yesterday to help jobseekers engage with agencies, government support organisations and the 24 employers at the fair.
These included fish processors Nolan Seafoods of Aberdeen, whose HR representative Janet Smith said there were plenty of jobs on offer if workers were willing to relocate to Aberdeen or Fraserburgh.
She said: “A lot of Polish people have been round with their interpreters. The reaction was a bit mixed.
“We do our best to support people relocating to Fraserburgh, but I got the definite feeling that the people today had made their lives in Dingwall and weren’t keen to move. Our message is, if you don’t find anything, we have jobs.”
Local MSPs Ian Blackford and Kate Forbes attended the jobs fair, which was organised by Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (Pace), the Scottish Government’s initiative for responding to redundancy situations.
Mr Blackford said: “With the imminent closure of the Edinburgh Salmon Company, Dingwall is going to see a large number of job losses.
“I am heartened that so many of the company’s employees managed along today, and I hope they have managed to take the first steps into re-employment.
“In such a scenario it is incumbent on politicians, such as myself, to make sure support is available for people who have been affected by such a devastating situation.
“I will continue to work with the all stakeholders to ameliorate the threat of unemployment and present current opportunities to the people in Ross, Skye and Lochaber.”